Energy, Pollution & Climate Change

Climate change is a dire threat to human and ecosystem well-being. As such, diverse issues related to energy needs and technologies, as well as the full range of climate change processes and decision making challenges require investigation. As well, pollution, such as air pollution–largely from fossil fuel combustion, inefficient cookstoves, and polluting fuels–kills millions of people annually. There is thus a multi-faceted imperative to accelerate the transition to clean energy in order to protect human and planetary health while not overlooking the adverse impacts caused by renewables and how the risks and benefits of clean energy sources are distributed.

IRES Researchers aim to support decision-making and enable transitions to more sustainable, healthy, and just futures. We work to understand the impacts of a wide range of energy, transportation, and industrial systems, identify and evaluate pathways to energy and other socio-technical transformations, as well as the synergies and trade-offs between climate and other goals.


Core faculty:

David BoydNavin RamankuttyAmanda GiangHadi DowlatabadiMilind KandlikarMark Johnson



The Right to Live in a Safe Climate

Is the right to a safe climate part of the right to a healthy environment, and if so, can this provide leverage in climate change litigation?

This project discusses the urgent need for action to ensure a safe climate for humanity, clarifies the obligations of States and the responsibilities of businesses, and makes recommendations with respect to addressing society’s addiction to fossil fuels; accelerating other mitigation actions; enhancing adaptation to protect vulnerable people; ramping up climate finance; financing loss and damage; and empowering United Nations institutions.


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Addressing Arctic Pollution

How do climate change and human emissions affect mercury contamination in ecologically and culturally important Arctic species?

This project aims to provide a holistic analysis on how global change has influenced beluga mercury levels by altering their physical environment and food web structure.


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